THE lack of a short lease market for offices has affected the prospects of No 3 Lockhart Road in Wan Chai which is now being redeveloped as an office building. In 1957, the 8,395-square-feet site was leased to a charitable organisation for 75 years and it will be extended to 2047 when it runs out in 2032. In July last year, the lease was modified, subject to payment of a premium of $88.2 million, so that the charity could fund redevelopment of its headquarters. The new lease allows for eight floors totalling about 50,000 sq ft to be used by the charity, and a further 15 office floors, totalling 75,925 sq ft, to be built above them. The construction will not be finished until January 1994. The charity's lease will continue until 2032, but the lease for the offices is only for 20 years. This period represents the stumbling block. It is long enough to allow the developer, Hsin Chong Construction, to hold on to the offices to recoup construction costs and make a profit from rental income. However, because this will tie up capital, Hsin Chong is also interested in selling the offices. Hongkong companies generally prefer to make their profit by buying and selling offices, and, because there are plenty of other opportunities, the market for buildings with short leases is almost non-existent. ''The market is more positive to long leases,'' said Mr Nicholas St Johnston, associate of Brooke Hillier Parker. ''Because the market is not focusing on short leases, it is also difficult to determine a price,'' he said. The offices would make a good investment. Next year supply and demand for office space is expected to be in balance but, in 1995, demand will exceed supply. In addition, because of the low premium, Mr St Johnston said the Lockhart Road property would be offered at a much lower price than normal. Despite this, companies were not interested in buying because the situation was unusual and they were unable to compare prices. The only other comparable property is the office block above the Hongkong Club where Hongkong Land has a similar arrangement with the club. The offices were valued at $545 million in June 1990, the last time the lesseea, Hongkong Land, listed asset values separately.